08 September 2015
It's kind of the sketching version of shooting fish in a barrel, drawing autumn leaves. As in, you can't really go wrong. But I can also walk past them thinking oh my, how beautiful, I'd love to draw those some time, and then not draw them at all.
Here's to celebrating the victory of following through on an intention, and an hour spent really meeting these leaves with whatever I've got: the jar of coloured pencils, the training of really looking at the dentate outlines and way the stalks angle, the fun of scribbling colour onto paper without gripping onto the leaves in front of me too much.
As to the reality of it's sort of pretty much autumn now, meh. I'm not in such a hurry to meet that just yet.
02 July 2015
I usually don't draw much on holiday, but I have a happy memory of drawing these early one evening while D was making dinner in the tiny kitchen of our shepherd's hut in the middle of a field in West Wales.
We had space for a mini break in early June and the plan was to explore the Pembrokeshire coast. Although the weather report wasn't saying camping, I wanted nature and super simple.
We found a shepherd's hut (which is really a small tin shack on wagon wheels) just outside Tenby, Wales on airbnb. Perfect for camping lite but without rain soaked walks to the loo block and nights of flapping nylon.
I loved that it was a short walk across a potato field to the cliff path and then a choice of windswept hikes along the coastal reserve. Simple.
The hut was super cute inside, and I didn't feel the urge to clear away a single thing. Usually the first thing I do when I get to a hotel or B+B room is take down offending pictures, stuff frilly/satin cushions into a cupboard and get rid of all knicknaks. (Ye olde shepherdess figurines and jolly wooden lighthouse ornaments, I'm talking to YOU.)
We had cows for neighbours, and a little local train choo chooed by every hour or so, and birdsong - welcome respite from the sirens and constant traffic hum of home.
There was even time and inclination to draw. I love that I drew these campion flowers loosely, without that drawing school thing of 'draw what you see not what you think you see' sounding in my head. This has its place, but for me it has become a Rule of Drawing, which is totally tiresome.
I draw what I like these days, and how I like, more and more.
03 April 2015
Hot cross buns, catkins, blackthorn blossom and daffodils in all shapes and sizes...Easter in the northern hemisphere makes sense. Of course it does - the rebirth of Everything, the joy and relief of another cycle drawing towards the light.
And yet, in South Africa, Easter comes at the very end of summer. Last swims in the Breede River, melty chocolate eggs, lamb on the braai fire with loads of garlic and rosemary super pungent from a long hot dry season.
Traffic queues to get out of town just the same as here.
As I've been painting these last few days, tiny leaves have been unfurling in the vase and a fabriano has a dusting of yellow pollen from the catkins. I love the softness of everything opening gently and irrevocably, even in the grey light of a London Easter.
I made this painting for my mum and dad and my dearest sis M and the loveliest L - wish we could be eating hot cross buns in the same place all at once. Lamb barbeque and snow are optional details.
Either way, and how ever it works out for you, I hope you have a lovely rest this weekend and lots of chocolate.
19 March 2015
I was commissioned to paint a small wildflower painting for the lovely Catherine, erstwhile of St Mary's Secret Garden, as a leaving present, late last year. I normally like to paint wildflowers from life, so I went a-hunting in the parks and overgrown abandoned flowerpots of Lower Clapton. Incredibly, in December, I found feverfew and dandelion still bravely in bloom.
14 February 2015
I am partial to Valentine's Day myself. It's nice to know someone was willing to wade into the commercial fray to indulge my love of chocolate and roses in any shade from ivory to deep red, single or multiple, just for me.
When we were little, my mum would buy us a chocolate covered marzipan bar and a flowering plant, perhaps a viola, for Valentine's Day sometimes. I loved that too - how it brought family into the day and made the day hinge a little less 'how many cards did you get?' at school.
For a really good warm heart though, I have been working with this - I forget where I read about it. I'm going to try it for more than a few seconds today.
Do that thing of being the love you want to see in the world by meeting everyone you encounter simply by giving them your full attention and accepting them, even for a moment, just as they are. Not how you want them to be, but how they already are, just in themselves. Perfect, fallible, full of fear and joy, just like you. The person opposite you on the train, the checkout person, the security guard, the waitress, the people you are planning to meet, perhaps. Your old friends, your new friends. Your cat. The one you love too, if they should happen to be in your life right now, of course don't forget that one. No need to say anything in particular, just be the love.
If you can manage that for more than um, say five seconds at any point today, I take my hat off to you. But see if it isn't heartwarming.
Happy Valentine's Day!